Thursday, December 11, 2014

Year In Review 2014- Favorite Live Show of 2014

The live show is a slippery thing. There are lots of variables at play most having little to do with the performance itself.  Does the venue have enough bathrooms?  Is it going to rain?  What day of the week is it on?  Did I have a shitty day at work before hand?  Did tickets cost waaay too much? All of this effects one's opinion of a live show before the band even tunes up and with reason, but when the stars align, there is no place RtBE would rather be then in the moment of magic occurring spontaneously from the stage.

Live Music Has No Equal.   

While we can't see every show that is out there, we try our hardest to see as many as we can (and more then most) here at RtBE.  Sure there are a few left in the calendar year, but for now here is a listing of of the best concerts we were fortunate enough to have seen in 2014. Also because who doesn't love arbitrary rankings, one show at the bottom that took the top prize as RtBE's 2014 Show of the Year. To continue our Best of 2014 just click that Read More button and get started

Below are some of the best shows we caught this year (and there were a ton) reviews will be linked to if they occurred. Just a word of note, this year's batch is amazing compared to last years crop of semi underwhelming shows. We are NYC based so most shows happen in this great city for us, but this year the title was contested far away from the Big Apple between two amazing and very different nights of music. Give it a read and let us know about some great ones we may have missed in the comments:

Honorable Mentions:

Nuggets and Beyond- City Winery, NYC 8/31/14
We will get to the out-of-towners in a bit but this one was a very NYC moment as a bunch of friends who grew up in Jersey got a chance to play a set of songs they dearly love in a fantastic venue. Having caught the show with some good friends it proves sometimes that holiday weekends in NYC proper can be just as fun (if not more amazing) then jaunting out to a beach. Lenny Kaye and crew delivered a set of tunes over 40 years old and nailed it while having a blast. Patti Smith cemented herself as a Grade A rock star in our minds while lesser known singers, rockers and rollers were just as happy to get involved. Full review here and peep a sample video below of the core players along with Edward Rogers covering a Turtles song that was written by Warren Zevon, how cool is that? 

Black 47 Rocky Sullivan's, Bklyn, NY  10/11/14 
We caught Black 47 twice this year on their farewell tour (until their reunion we are guessing) and while St. Paddy's was a bunch of fun, this night at Rocky Sullivan's was special. The main reason being it was a family show for both the crowd and the band as Chris Byrne rejoined the group. I got to the tiny Red Hook bar really early to catch some playoff baseball and had the opportunity to talk to some long time fans of the band, it was extremely enlightening. Also Tom and Lindsey joined me at this one as well as that Nuggets show...hmm a pattern as good friends always help. While not as musically satisfying as some of the other shows on this list it was more of an emotional satisfying moment for us. Just the fact that our last vision of the band was leaving a bar at 2am while Chris and Larry were still chatting and laughing with each other. That put a perfect bow on our experience with the band which we talked about for NYPL earlier in the year. Again, full review on Glide here and our round up with some video here.    

Dr. Dog Terminal 5 NY, NY 1/25/14
This show foreshadowed an excellent year of live music for RtBE. Dr. Dog played their first show of 2014 with a passion and fire that solidified them as "must see" for any tour that comes through this or any other city we are in. While we have been enjoying seeing them in town since 06, for some reason they never jumped to the top of our list as must see live...that changed last January and we can't wait to see them again this upcoming January at our favorite venue in town. A quick snip-it from this show's encore gives ya some flava:

Before we jump to the end of this list let me just state again how many great shows we hit this year. Last year shows like Sabbath in Brooklyn or The Hold Steady in Albany would have topped our list, this year they just get a quick shout out. Live music can be simply amazing. 

Show of The Year (It's a Tie! We simply can't decide which we liked more):

The Rough Seven Saturn Bar, NOLA 5/3/14
This set was life affirming. The band is simply amazing, that they can perform this well is invigorating. The fact that there was only a few people there is sad but also added to the "Holy Shit I Can't Believe This is Going DOWN!" vibe. We are so god damn privileged to have caught the set and can not wait to see the group again the next time we go down to NOLA, I would also give up one of my pinky fingers to get them up to NYC to play a show (that we could open for of course). When the band was done around 5 in the AM we knew something special had gone down, when we reviewed the show for Glide we were so happy someone else found it and commented on it. Simply thinking about the bands set ending cover of "Beautiful" is hair raising. Thanks Ryan, Rob, Stu, Ratty, and Mike for a show for the age.

Jack White Chicago Theater, Chicago, IL 7/23/14
Where the Rough Seven played to a small crowd and blew up the night, Jack White got broadcast on radio (captured for posterity) and went on to play the best show of his career. While fans were still raving about his recent Bonnaroo set, which will be getting a vinyl release, this night in Chicago topped even that as Jack infused the towns blues spirit with his own rock and roll rampage. A complete showman with a band that was on fire waiting for his every move or simply jumping ahead and creating their own. Daru Jones is a beast and a perfect foil for White. 

Jack's interplay with the lone female on stage, fiddle player Lillie Mae was engaging and his connection with the audience was palpable. White is a rock star to the highest degree and it is because of shows like this that he deserves that honor. The best part? You can hear it for yourself, while nowhere near being there, this 3 hour Chicago set will go down in history. Just as in the R7 section, one listen to "Cut Like A Buffalo" and I still get goose bumps.

Thanks to everyone from stage hands, touring agents, cooks, bartenders and groupies who made these above shows possible.

Ok what do you got? Any great shows you caught this year I would love to hear about in the comments.

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